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Think Before You Drink PDF Print E-mail
Written by San Fernando Valley Sun   
Thursday, 12 December 2013 09:43

If your heart beats faster at the thought of quaffing a cold can of energy drink (think Red Bull, Monster, Rockstar and their ilk), there may be something wrong with you that is more worrisome than your sense of taste.

Almost nobody drinks these hugely popular concoctions for their sublime flavor. People consume them almost entirely for the much-touted neurological jolt derived from an overabundance of caffeine (as much as three times more than in a comparable serving of coffee or soda) and its individual ingredients -- B vitamins, the amino acid taurine and guarana, a South American plant with a higher caffeine concentration than coffee, ginseng and ginkgo biloba.

Judging from sales -- $12.5 billion in 2012 in the U.S. alone -- commercial energy drinks deliver their promised punch ... and worse.

A report presented this week at the Radiological Society of North America found that energy drinks appear to adversely alter heart function. Specifically, they can cause rapid heart rate, palpitations, a blood pressure spike and possibly, seizures or death.

If that's not enough of an eye opener, consider this statistic from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: Each year, almost 21,000 energy drink consumers find themselves in hospital emergency rooms being treated for unwanted side effects from the beverages.

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